It is now August which means we’re about a month away from September and the beginnings of fall. Summer’s coming to a close, and soon we’ll see ghosts and skeletons in stores and in front lawns. Aside from decorating, one of the best ways to build a spooky mood is with a good old campfire. In fact, we’ve finally reached National Campfire Day, and it’s the perfect time to bring out your firewood and marshmallows to settle in for a night of scary storytelling. There really is no better setting than a pitch black night with nothing but a fire to light your faces as you take turns sharing your most hair-raising stories. Worried that you won’t have any ideas? Check out these seven tales that are sure to keep your friends on the edge of their seats.
This story is about Jane, who wore a yellow ribbon around her neck every day. Regardless of the occasion and regardless of her outfit, the yellow ribbon stayed on. Jane never told her friend Johnny why she wears it. And this went on, “Maybe one day I’ll tell you,” Jane said once. Although Johnny was frustrated, he had always thought Jane was cute, so he asked her out. Jane said yes. She always said yes. When he asked her to get ice cream, when he asked her to come to his football game, when he’d take her home, and to the school dance. They started dating and Johnny seemed to forget about the yellow ribbon. Eventually they were engaged and as they planned a big wedding, Jane hinted that she might tell him about the ribbon on their wedding day. Amid the excitement and preparation Johnny completely forgot to ask. When he finally remembered, Jane asked what difference it made if he knew. Johnny decided she was right and didn’t ask again.
They happily started their life and raised a family of four. The children once asked Jane about the ribbon, and Johnny hushed them, making sure they wouldn’t ask again. But when their golden anniversary came around, Johnny asked her again what the ribbon is for. “You’ve waited this long. You can wait a while longer.” Johnny agreed. A year later, Jane was on her death bed. Johnny saw this as his last chance before she slipped away. He asked her one last time, and she said with a sad smile, “Okay, Johnny, you can go ahead and untie it.” His excitement made him fumble with the knot for a bit before he finally untied the ribbon. The ribbon came loose, and he immediately wished he never asked as he watched his wife’s head fall off.
On the road one night, a young woman is driving home when she notices a truck driving closely behind her. She waits for the truck to pass, but it never does. Instead, it stays behind her and flashes its high beams. She’s immediately uncomfortable and realizes no matter how fast she drives or what roads she takes, the truck stays right behind her flashing its high beams every few minutes. At this point, she’s terrified and speeds home. The truck follows her and pulls into her driveway right behind her. She’s about to run out of her car to her front door when the truck driver climbs out of his car with a gun and fires in her direction. She screams but realizes she wasn’t hit. When she turns, she sees the body of a man fall out of her backseat with a butcher knife clutched in his hand. It turns out the truck driver had been trying to save her the entire time. Each time the man raised his knife, the driver flashed his high beams to try and warn her.
La Llorona is a story often used to scare children into behaving. Its origin comes from the story of Maria – a beautiful woman in a very small village who eventually married the most desirable man in town. He was a handsome cowboy who could ride anything, sing beautifully, and play the guitar. But it was an unhappy marriage. They had children, but the cowboy left town for months at a time. It got to the point where he only spoke to his children when he visited. One day, he came with another woman sitting beside him in a carriage. He talked to his children but didn’t even look at Maria. Her jealousy made something snap inside her. That night she took her children down to the river and threw them in. By the time she realized what she had done, it was too late, and they disappeared downstream. She ran down the river, fueled by her guilt and anger but didn’t pay attention to where she was going. She eventually fell and hit her head on a rock which killed her.
When the townspeople found her, they laid her to rest in the very spot she died. But that first night in her grave, she couldn’t rest. They saw her wandering through the woods crying. As they listened carefully they heard her wailing, “Aiiiii mis hiiiiijooooos. Donde estan mis hiiiiijoooooos.” She cried, “Where are my children?” Night after night, she appeared, and they soon began calling her La Llorona. The Weeping Woman. The town told the children to be home before dark, or she would take them. Stories came about of children who played by the river and were approached by La Llorona thinking they were her children. When she realized they were not hers, she threw them into the river. One boy stayed by the river one night, not believing the stories. La Llorona came to him, grabbed him by the shoulders, saying “My child!” The boy was terrified and said a prayer in his mind. At that moment, La Llorona let go and disappeared through the trees. The boy ran home and told his mother what happened. She knew he told the truth when she saw five round red marks on each shoulder where she held him – blood stains left by La Llorona’s fingers.
The Goatman is a creature originating from stories about Prince George’s County, Maryland. Some say the Goatman was created when a researcher at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in 1970 did experiments on goats. Something went terribly wrong with one of these experiments, and he ended up with the upper body of a goat. Others say he was just a lonely goat herder who reached his breaking point after teens killed all his goats. Whatever the case, the Goatman is known for terrorizing couples, chasing teens, and decapitating dogs. He squeals and makes goat noises to add to the terror. The first mention of him came in 1971 when a family in Maryland claimed the Goatman was responsible for the death of their puppy Ginger. The story was more believable when a group of teenage girls reported hearing strange noises that night and seeing a large creature. Sightings of an animal-like creature that walked on its hind legs were also increasing on Fletchertown Road. Of course, there’s no real hard proof, but there’s also nothing disproving his existence either…
This legend takes place in Illinois. The story goes that a train hit a school bus full of children after getting stuck on the tracks. The incident, unfortunately, killed everyone inside. Now, it’s reported that the children haunt the train tracks where it happened. If visitors to Munger Road sprinkle baby powder on their car’s bumper and sit on the tracks with their car in neutral, the spirits of the kids push the car off the tracks to safety, and their little handprints show up on the bumper.
The Wendigo is a creature that originates from Native American legend. It lives in the forests of the Great Lakes region and central Canada. It might appear as a monster with human-like qualities or a spirit that possesses humans and makes them monstrous. The Wendigo is typically associated with cannibalism and greed. Native American legend describes them as giants much larger than humans with jagged yellow teeth that drip with blood, glowing eyes, and unusually long tongues. Wendigos are created when humans resort to cannibalism to survive and are forever cursed to wander the land searching for human flesh. This terrifying creature makes a great monster for the subject of campfire stories. Check out one of the stories about Wendigos here.
In 1947, a man who worked as a cab driver got a call from his dispatcher that someone needed a ride at Bramlett Road. Cab drivers generally avoided that area since it was near the slaughter yards and not exactly the kind of road anyone drove down at midnight. But this was his job, so he took the call. He had been out of town the night the “incident” happened that gave Bramlett Road its reputation. Another cab driver from his company was robbed and stabbed to death in his cab one night on that road. The next day a man named Willie Earle was arrested and jailed for the crime even though he denied it. Some men from the cab company got together and, after a night of drinking, decided to grab Earle from jail and take him to the slaughter yards. They beat him and eventually shot him three times. When they were sure he was dead, they each drove off. None were charged for his murder, and Bramlett Road gained a reputation for being haunted by Willie Earle.
So, the man who took this call pulled onto Bramlett but saw no one. He decided to park and wait to see if anyone showed up. Then the air around him got ice cold as he heard moans of terror coming from across the road. He heard the sound of someone being beaten, and then one, two, three shots rang out. The man turned the cab around and took off, but a tall, beaten figure stood in the road in front of him with its head lolling, dead features, and knife-torn clothes. It could only be the ghost of Willie Earle. He hit the gas and swerved, narrowly avoiding the man. He headed straight for the dispatcher’s office, quit immediately, and never returned to Bramlett Road again.
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